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Digital Spring Cleaning Tips for Professionals

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Spring cleaning typically means getting to work on dusty windows, stained carpets, and frighteningly full closets at home. But spring is also a good time to tackle neglected chores in your digital life. Let’s be honest, a lot happens in the average workday, schedules are packed, and it’s easy to let non-urgent tasks fall through the cracks. Putting them off for too long, however, makes them much more unpleasant and time consuming when you finally have to tend to them. No more procrastinating! Here are a few digital spring cleaning tasks you can (and should) conquer today. (more…)

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4 Steps for Turning Customers into Social Cheerleaders

Turn your customers into social cheerleaders with these Sterling PR tips

Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck, Flickr

Social media for business comes down to one thing: creating brand advocates. Knowing that, why do so many companies make the same mistake of spending too much time targeting non-customers, and too little time engaging existing customers?

The New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer points this out in his article “The Truth About Social Media Strategy.” Ultimately, he proposes, “The role of social media is to turn people who like you into people who love you.” Why? Because people who love your brand are more inclined to bang the table for you in conversations, both online and offline. (more…)

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5 Ways to Add Thanksgiving Flavor to Your Professional Relationships

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Photo credit: Cindi Albright, Flickr

The Thanksgiving holiday never fails to spark sentiment about the more important things in life: family, friendships, and food. But why can’t we include our work relationships on the list, too? Building rapport with clients, saying “thanks” to colleagues, and adding a personal touch to professional interactions are not only proper work etiquette — they’re also good for the soul.

The season of turkey trots and pumpkin pie is also the season of giving thanks, and it’s an excellent time to consider gracious ways you can reach out to your clients and coworkers to convey your appreciation. Here are a few ideas for showing gratitude to your work connections and bringing the spirit of Thanksgiving into your professional life: (more…)

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Why Corporate Culture Matters Most

Since Sterling opened its doors more than two decades ago, we’ve had lots of laughs, persevered through some difficult and scary economic cycles, evolved our service mix, attracted wonderful employees, and created many long-standing client relationships. All of that happened because we created a strong culture, worked hard, anticipated change, and added new skills to capitalize on market transitions.

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Notice that I listed culture first? That’s because NOTHING is more critical than your corporate culture. It can guide you through heady times and help you survive the difficult times. While there are certainly central truths in any corporate culture, your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture — it’s not something you can “set and forget.” (As we’ve seen, even legendary corporate cultures like HP’s can get lost over time if leaders focus simply on business unit performance and let the corporate culture languish.)

Your corporate culture is something you must continually shape and nurture—it’s not something you can “set and forget.”

Smarter people than I have written many articles on this topic, but from where I sit, corporate culture really boils down to three questions: (more…)

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Be True to Your Brand

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr. Seuss

The same goes for your company and your competitors’ companies. While you may serve similar customer needs, there can be vast differences in brand attributes. Take Ryanair and Emirates. Ryanair is Europe’s “ultra low cost carrier”; it has embraced a “no-frills, low-cost, get-you-from-A-to-B model” that makes air travel “accessible to the masses.” The airline guarantees that it has the lowest fares on flights to all of its destinations. Emirates, on the other hand, is one of the most luxurious travel brands on the planet. From its sparkling fleet of new planes, to high-quality cuisine, the latest in cabin design, and a wide range of entertainment options, Emirates strives to make the “Emirates experience” world class in every class.

The takeaway here is that you can’t be all things to all people, but once you know what you can do better than your competitors, you can polish your brand in ways that appeal to the type of employees you want to hire, customers you want to serve, and partners/investors you want to attract. (more…)

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Key Ingredients for Cooking Up an Effective Social Media Campaign

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To run a successful social media campaign (say, generate over a million page views and a few-hundred-thousand social mentions), all you have to do is take one wish-fulfilling techno-toy ripped from the script of a classic science fiction film, assure folks that it’s real, then add one celebrity athlete and one astronaut. Mix all elements together, splash some video across the Twitterverse, and…Presto! Bon appetit!

While this abbreviated recipe may sound preposterous, friends of Sterling Communications will know that it pretty much encapsulates the successful campaign we launched for the Hendo Hoverboard Kickstarter last October. Our client, Arx Pax, used the Hoverboard Kickstarter as a platform for coming out of stealth mode and introducing their core technology to the masses. We leveraged social media to amplify the launch using a two-phased process: first establishing credibility, then fostering enthusiast engagement. If you aren’t familiar with this campaign, here’s a quick recap of our overall media strategy. (more…)

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Why Consumers Should Be Excited About IoT Right Now

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I recently found myself trying to explain the Internet of Things (IoT) to my dad. This is a man who literally doesn’t understand how to use a computer, though he has admittedly become somewhat engaged with the basic functions of a smartphone (read: pictures!).

“Why the hell do I want to have an Internet on my fridge?” he asked.

It was only when, after many examples, I mentioned how an Internet-connected sprinkler system would be able to detect that it had just rained and thus wouldn’t water the lawn on its regular cycle that I caught his attention. He gazed at the brown grass outside.

“Well, that’s pretty cool.” (more…)

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Creative Heroes in a Big Data World

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Marketing, once widely regarded as a pure art form, is now being injected with (data) science. In fact, pretty much everything we read and hear about these days around marketing innovation involves Big Data and analytics. Now, I’m all for proper targeting and effectiveness measurement, but I hope we’re not losing sight of something important here.

Think back to childhood. When you’re dangling one-handed from the monkey bars with your sweaty grip slipping fast, you’re not pinning your rescue hopes on the kid with the photographic memory and unrivaled aptitude for regurgitating facts to save the day. Most likely, that kid would offer you relevant but decidedly unhelpful information such as the number of playground deaths occurring in the US each year for the past five years.

Please, don’t send that kid. (more…)

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Crowdfunding: Seeding a Bright Future for Entrepreneurs

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Crowdfunding has taken the Silicon Valley startup scene by storm. Once a pastime for early adopters, crowdfunding has gone mainstream on a global scale. $16.2B was raised in 2014 alone, up from $6B in 2013. The market is set to double again in 2015, surpassing the venture capital industry, which invests an average of $30B each year. Let Silicon Valley VCs focus on the next unicorn; upstarts with big dreams of their own can still ‘make it’ through the power of the people. (more…)